Monday, October 29, 2007

My Latest Thoughts On The (Possible) Strike...

Actually, I've been so busy I haven't had time to consider it that much. That said, if stress and tension and general atmosphere means anything, it feels like we went on strike three weeks ago.

The problem is, nothing's really changed. The producers took the rollback of residuals off the table, but it never should have been there in the first place. As I told a friend, I guess now the writers can pull back on their "one million dollars a day" salary demands.

I think what baffles me a little is the reluctance (a kind word) of the studios to even entertain formulas for sharing the wealth on the internet, i-tunes, downloads, webisodes, mobisodes and whatever-a-sodes. It's not like the WGA's demanding advance payments on money that hasn't been collected yet via these new distribution systems. We just want a (small) piece of whatever DOES come in. And yet somehow this is all too complicated, possibly requiring a three year study (gee, what a coincidence, three years until the next contract negotiations!) to figure out just how much money the networks are making from the new technologies that they can't share because it's all too heady... or something.

Jeff Zucker said today that NBC made "only" made $15 million from i-tunes. Okay. All we want is a percentage of that $15 million, then...

That said, it remains to be reiterated that the last thing ANY working writer wants is a strike. This is a tough, time sensitive, mercurial business, and work stoppages can have ramifications beyond the checkbook. And writers, especially in television, are not blind to the downside of what happens when shows go out of production. Besides the damage done to the production staff, when the shows stop coming it's possible audience eyeballs will go with them. So I'm still crossing my fingers that wisdom trumps... something... and next week finds us all busy at our keyboards.

That said, if I had to lay odds, I'd be hoping for nice weather Friday, because picket signs don't hold together very well in the rain...


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